Annato, Lipstick Plant
The Annatto is a shrub or small tree native to the West Indies and to South America. The reddish veined, heart shaped leaves and the showy flowers borne on terminal panicles give it value as an ornamental. Although it doesn't produce an edible fruit, the annatto is widely grown for the orange-red pulp that covers the seeds. The annatto dye, which is prepared by stirring the seeds in water, is used to color butter and cheese. It is also widely used in Latin America to color rice and other foods. In the Philippines, the seeds are ground and used as a condiment.
(Adapted from an USDA miscellaneous publications.)
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